Friday, April 28, 2006

China Eyeing Cuba Offshore Oil

Thursday, April 27, 2006 10:38 p.m. EDT

China Eyeing Cuba Offshore Oil

China and a host of other oil-hungry nations will be tapping into huge
offshore oil deposits a mere 50 miles from the United States while this
nation is forced to endure rising gas prices as a result of record high
demand for oil fueled by such countries as China and India.

According to Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, the U.S. energy sector has been
"hamstrung" from seeking additional oil resources while at the same time
allowing "the likes of China, Canada, Brazil, Spain, France and others
to freely seek energy opportunities 50 miles off our coast without
competition from state-of-the-art technologies and expertise of our own
U.S. gas and oil industries."

In a speech on the Senate floor, Craig said that a February 2005 U.S.
Geological Survey report described "a possible deposit in the North Cuba
Basin estimated at 4.6 billion barrels of oil, and possibly as much as
9.3 billion barrels." He then reminded his colleagues "that estimates
for Alaska National Wildlife Refuge range from 4 billion to 10 billion

So, he said, "The question must be asked: 'What is the U.S. doing while
foreign companies and countries are exploring right off the U.S. coast
in the North Cuba Basin, which is adjacent to the U.S. Outer Continental
Shelf and contiguous with this country's Exclusive Economic Zone?'
Well, I can firmly tell my colleagues that we are doing absolutely
nothing. Not one single U.S. company is exploring in these potentially
beneficial waters that extend to within 50 miles off the coast of
Florida. So, we sit here watching China exploit a valuable resource
within eyesight of the U.S. coast. I say -- not on my watch."

Craig added that he is "certain the American public would be shocked, as
this country is trying to reduce our dependency on Middle East oil, that
countries like China are realizing this energy resource."

China, which he said is the world's second-largest user of petroleum
products "is using this area off our coast, and in Cuban national
waters, as a strategic commodities reserve. It is doing this by
acquiring exclusive rights in the emerging Cuban offshore oil sector --
thereby forever closing the door on those resources to the U.S. industry
and drastically impacting our foreign policy in the region."

According to the Bush administration's "National Security Strategy,"
China is "expanding trade, but acting as if they can somehow lock up
energy supplies around the world or seek to direct markets rather than
opening them up."

A shocking report aired on the Lou Dobbs show Thursday night revealed
that Cuba has not only allowed China to drill but also to service an old
Soviet refinery in Cuba while U.S. companies are locked out of the game.
The Dobbs report also revealed that Venezuela's Castroite president,
Hugo Chavez, has offered Chinese oil firms operating rights in his

Craig wants to introduce legislation that will allow the United States
to operate in these waters off our southern coast, adding that we cannot
allow China to lock up a potentially lucrative oil supply for life in
our own backyard

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